Reckitt Benckiser Chief Executive Rakesh Kapoor will retire by this year’s end, after more than 8 years of leading the consumer goods company and more than three decades with the company.
His retirement will pave the way for a potential change in strategy or break-up of the British consumer goods maker.
Rakesh stated, “It has been a huge privilege to lead RB and I am very proud of the hard work and commitment of our people in delivering our success and many achievements. The last two years in particular, have been transformational with the acquisition of Mead Johnson, the catalyst for the creation of our two business units, Health and Hygiene, Home. 2020 will herald a new decade and I believe now is a good time for new leadership to take this great company through the next phase of outperformance. I will remain fully focussed on driving the business until a successor is in place.”
Reckitt has begun looking for a successor and will consider internal and external candidates.
Chris Sinclair, Chairman of the Board, said, “Under Rakesh’s leadership, RB has been transformed from a household cleaning business to a world leader in consumer health and hygiene. Rakesh has been both the visionary and the architect behind this strategic portfolio transformation since the mid-2000s. He has also developed RB2.0 – an organization designed for sustainable growth and outperformance. On behalf of the Board, I want to express our appreciation for his vision, passion and leadership over his long and distinguished tenure. We are now commencing a formal and comprehensive process to appoint a successor, considering both internal and external candidates.”
Kapoor is the latest consumer industry chief to step down in difficult times. Last November, Unilever chief Paul Polman announced his retirement after a decade of leading the consumer giant firm. Polman’s departure came after a failed plan to move the firm's headquarters from London to the Netherlands.
All eyes will be on whom will the company choose as the new chief who has some big shoes to fill in. Kapoor has overseen a near doubling in Reckitt's market value to GBP 44.3 Bn as of Tuesday, spending heavily on acquisitions. He is also the architect of a plan designed to split the firm into two stand-alone business units, one focused on health and the other on home and hygiene, but under the same parent company.
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